The Hidden Dangers of Polypharmacy & UTI’s

Polypharmacy is defined as the simultaneous use of multiple drugs, and is becoming an alarmingly common practice among the elderly.

With a specialist to treat each condition of the body, it’s easy to understand how patients end up with multiple prescriptions, on top of over the counter drugs and daily supplements.

The danger of polypharmacy is that we can’t always predict the interactions between medications, or fully understand the possible consequences of these combinations.

While all age groups can be affected by polypharmacy, the elderly are more vulnerable to the possible side effects of untested drug combinations, and also represent the age group more likely to be suffering from chronic diseases or conditions, thus resulting in more medication.

A lack of communication between doctors and patients is a major contributor to the rise of polypharmacy, as it is often the case that a well-meaning doctor prescribes treatment for a specific condition without communicating with the patient about other prescriptions, over the counter drugs, or dietary supplements they may also be taking. Patients who use complementary and alternative medicines often fail to share this information with their doctors, believing either that the combination will have no consequence, or that their doctor may frown upon such alternative therapies.

At this point, there is still much to understand about the way different drugs interact inside our bodies. Until more research has been completed, patients should be wary of adding too many prescriptions to their daily drug regimens, and should always practice transparency with medical professionals.
UTI Symptoms Pose as Dementia

You might be surprised to learn that a urinary tract infection (UTI) in an older person looks a lot like dementia. While the symptoms of a UTI in a younger person are common and easy to understand, an elderly UTI is more difficult to diagnose, and can present itself in a variety of confusing ways.

One of the strongest indicators of a UTI in an older person is a sudden change in behavior. A UTI can mimic the symptoms of dementia, leaving a person confused and sometimes agitated, often with poorer than usual motor skills, and an inability to perform tasks that were easily completed the day before. While other symptoms of a UTI may be present, often this behavioral change is the only indicator, causing concerned family members to see these symptoms as a sign of dementia. Luckily, if a medical professional is consulted and a UTI turns out to be present, treatment is relatively quick and straightforward.

For more information regarding polypharmacy and/or dementia, please call us 410-220-2300 or email us.

Deborah Bakalich, Certified Senior Advisor®
Deborah Bakalich, Certified Senior Advisor®
Owner, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA®) & Assisted Living Placement Specialist - Senior Care Lifestyles, LLC provides compassion, guidance and recommendations to families faced with transitioning a loved one into Assisted Living, Dementia/Alzheimer’s Care, Skilled Nursing, Temporary Respite Care or a Continuous Care Retirement Community. Senior Care Lifestyles was founded in 2014 by Deborah Bakalich, a Certified Senior Advisor and graduate from both Towson University and Stevenson. Senior Care Lifestyles is uniquely positioned as a local (not National) Maryland based placement firm familiar with Maryland senior care facilities and in-state financial assistance programs for senior residents. They meet personally with each family to understand the seniors care needs including medical, personal lifestyle preferences, budget, religion and desired geographic location. They pride themselves in locally guiding and educating families through the entire maze of senior living options available and will schedule tours on behalf of the family and accompany the family on visits of communities. They are passionate and committed to finding the perfect match to call home and stays with the family throughout the entire process, every step of the way, until a decision is made, and the senior is safely moved into their new home. Senior Care Lifestyles can also provide the family with trustworthy, vetted, and reputable experts to assist with the transition for organizing, packing, moving, sale of real estate, estate planning, legal services, and determining eligibility for State, Federal and Veterans Benefits to assist with care costs. Deborah is a proud member of the Maryland Senior Resource Network (MSRN) where she has served as Vice President on the Board of Directors. She is a member of the Alzheimer’s Organization, Society of Certified Senior Advisors, Mid-Atlantic Network Group and a member of the Business Opportunity Network (BON).

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